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Borden Institute releases highly anticipated historical Battle of Antietam publication

The Borden Institute, an agency of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Medical Center of Excellence, officially released Combat Readiness Through Medicine at the Battle of Antietam as a part of the Textbooks of Military Medical History series on 2 February 2023.

This publication highlights important medical innovations and improvements gained from the deadliest day in U.S. history, the Battle of Antietam. This pivotal U.S. Civil War battle helped shape future combat medical readiness practices in the U.S. Army.

The Battle of Antietam provides important lessons in battlefield tactics, leadership, command and control, communications, and unit training that improved the nation’s readiness to bring combat power to commanders in the field of battle.

The foreword for this publication was written by Lieutenant General Raymond S. Dingle, the current U.S. Army Surgeon General. Scott C. Woodard, the current U.S. Army Medical Department Center of History and Heritage historian was the senior consultant for this distinctive historical publication. “Antietam was the deadliest battle in American history, but also served as the “pilot” program of much needed reform in the Army Medical Department”, said Woodard.

When asked how the Battle of Antietam has shaped today’s military prehospital healthcare, Woodard said, “Major Jonathan Letterman served as the Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, but what he implemented also applies to any person responsible for treating the wounded whether a civilian ambulance driver, county emergency room physician, Army battalion surgeon, or Navy nurse.”

While not all ideas were original, Letterman successfully implemented concepts that we take for granted today in planning for health service support. It was during this battle that the U.S. Army solidified its emerging plan to decisively combat battlefield mortality, which marked the beginning of true combat readiness through medicine.

“Preplanned placement of forward surgical treatment, battlefield triage, medical logistics management, and dedicated ambulance support with specifically trained crews are just a few of the tools we use to increase combat power, and therefore readiness, in support of the combatant commander. Letterman’s legacy is lived every day in Army Medicine, but the whole world benefits from his influence”, said Woodard.

Combat Readiness Through Medicine at the Battle of Antietam highlights the foundation, evolution, and continued readiness commitment to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. It is with a great sense of gratification and enthusiasm that the Borden Institute presents this high quality and exclusive narrative text.

Department of Defense personnel can request a complimentary copy by completing an order form at: https://medcoe.army.mil/borden . Click on Ordering Information to order books.

In addition to the print version, this publication is also available in PDF format on the institute’s website.

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